March 26, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Yesterday we celebrated the Solemnity of the Annunciation – the moment when the angel Gabriel visited Mary, and with Mary’s yes, Jesus was incarnate by the Holy Spirit in her womb. With the Blessed Mother, let us ask the Holy Spirit to fill us these days. I pray that we may experience anew the great gift of Jesus.
During these days, I have been in regular consultation with our Diocese of Gary COVID-19 Task Force, the College of Consultors (a group comprised of our deans and pastors), various work groups, and members of the faithful as we do our best to respond pastorally and practically to the current pandemic. The situation sometimes changes by the hour as we receive and incorporate new directives guided by civil authorities, public health officials, the Holy See, and the USCCB.
As we approach Holy Week, it is clear that our current limitations will remain in effect. All Masses will continue to be offered only privately until sometime after Easter. This is not easy news to absorb, nor is it easy for me to share. Holy Week is the high point of our year and this is an incredible sacrifice we are making for the health and wellbeing of all – and for the common good.
During this time of private celebration of our liturgies, I am impressed that so many of you have participated remotely through the live streaming of our Masses. We will continue to avail ourselves of these technologies and will be offering resources for use at home during Holy Week.
The Chrism Mass will be offered privately and live streamed from the Cathedral on Monday, April 6 at 11:00am. This is a special celebration which includes the blessing of the holy oils and normally involves the participation of all the priests and parishes of the diocese. For this year, the only concelebrating priests will be our four deans.
Please consult with your parish to see if they are livestreaming the liturgies. All of my Sunday and Holy Week liturgies will be livestreamed. Information regarding livestreamed liturgies (and additional spiritual resources) is available at www.dcgary.org.
We’re in this together. So let’s pray together. As was announced earlier this week, I am asking you to join in a moment of daily prayer and church bells at 12noon and 6pm. The two simple prayers I am proposing are: “Jesus I trust in you” and “Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.” Set your cell phones or alarms to remind you to pray. In addition, our Holy Father Pope Francis will confer a special urbi et orbi blessing on Friday March 27 at 12noon (CST). Please watch via the internet or television.
If you have any intentions you’d like me to pray for, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your prayer requests will be forwarded to me so that I can lift them up personally in prayer.
I would also ask you to please continue your financial support to your parish. They rely entirely on your contributions and your generosity. I am very grateful for your support, especially during this time.
We are in unchartered territory, but we are in this together. Let us entrust ourselves to Jesus through the hands of Our Lady of Lourdes. Let us pray for her continued intercession during these days, for healing and comfort to those who are suffering. We call upon the Holy Angels to give consolation and protection.
Jesus, I trust in you…
The Most Reverend Robert J. McClory
Diocese of Gary